Could Boyanka Kostova Power Snatch Her Way to Olympic Victory?

Could Boyanka Kostova win gold in Rio by power snatching? The answer is probably not (though power snatches were more than enough to earn her a third European Championship). But maybe!

At the 2016 European Weightlifting Championships (which run for another few days), Kostova opened the snatch portion at 95 kilograms, two kilos above the closest competitors — and she made it look like a deload cycle warm-up lift. Video from Hookgrip’s Instagram.

She’s also the 2015 World Champion, where she set the World Record snatch at 112 kg and the World Record total at 252 kg, taking gold in all three disciplines: snatch, clean & jerk, and total.

It’s too early to call her the presumptuous winner in Rio, but if she hits close to her numbers from Houston, her competitors — including Deng Mengrong of China and Kuo Hsing-chun of Chinese Taipei/Taiwan — will all be playing catchup.

At 22 years young, it’s almost undisputed that Kostova is the best 58 kg female lifter on the planet. A native Bulgarian who won a Youth Olympic Games gold and European Championships silver medal for that country, Kostova became a naturalized citizen of Azerbaijan a few years ago through their fast-track naturalization program for athletes. She finished fifth under the Azerbaijani flag at the 2012 London Olympics, and since then, her numbers have continued to rise.

All Things Gym has a great video of one of Kostova’s training hall sessions before the 2015 WWC in Houston. In the video, she snatches 110, clean & jerks 135, and front squats 180 kilos. Her quick-as-lightning power jerks are something to behold.